What just wrecked the mic? Hopefully not me....

OPO, the College’s internationally recognised research journal, turns 90 this year and we’ve been undertaking various activities to celebrate the milestone.

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Author: Martin Cordiner, Head of Research
Date: 27 October 2015

Amongst the things the research department at the College do is supporting the creation of each issue of Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, the College’s internationally recognised research journal. The journal turns 90 this year (having morphed into its current form, and title, in 1980), so we’ve been undertaking various activities to celebrate the milestone.

One of these came about through a conversation at our Editorial Board meeting last March, where the publisher suggested that we could make a podcast based around an interview with some of the journal’s previous editors. “That sounds like a great idea”, I said, between mouthfuls of biscuit, “any idea who could do the interviewing?”. “Well”, said our publisher, “I was thinking - maybe you could?” 

Cue internal monologue: me? Me?! I mean sure, I know these people, I went for a curry with one of them once, and yes, I have a teensy bit of radio experience (shout out to York Hospital Radio), but these people are legends in their field, how am I going to manage this. (Oh, and don’t choke on that biscuit.)

And so I sat down for a chat with Professors Neil Charman (Emeritus Professor at the University of Manchester) and Bernard Gilmartin (Professor of Optometry, Aston University), the first and second editors of the newly-titled OPO, and tried to avoid sounding quite silly. My main touchstone was the journalist who once asked football manager Harry Redknapp whether he thought his team needed to finish above Manchester United to win the league, to which he replied, “you need to finish above everyone to win the league, that’s how a league works”. Fair point.

This task was made much easier by the individuals themselves, of course. Some of you will have worked with Neil and Bernard, and many more of you will have been taught by them. Their contribution to the development of optometric research as a distinct discipline is huge, and reflected in the College Research Excellence Awards that we were delighted to name after them (The Neil Charman Medal for Research and The Bernard Gilmartin OPO Award). But they were also very welcoming in being asked questions by a nervous wreck of a Head of Research.

Our chat covered the development of OPO, how optometric research became established, how papers have influenced modern practice, approaches to science generally and what the future may hold. More than anything, it is a great chance to hear two very well known names take stock of how far optometry has come, and, along with the updates to our classic papers that feature in the November 90th anniversary issue of OPO, it gives us a clear view of where we are right now. And they’re still speaking to me, which I’m seeing as a major plus.

If you haven’t set foot inside OPO before, I’d encourage you to give the podcast a listen to set the scene before giving it a go. Alternatively, if you’ve been reading it for (up to) 90 years, you’ll hopefully still gain a new perspective on it.

And as a teaser (spoiler alert), if you’re too young to know who William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton are, then Peter Capaldi plays the latest incarnation.

Thanks for listening. I’ve been Martin Cordiner. Back to you in the studio.

Martin Cordiner
Head of Research, College of Optometrists

Martin graduated with a Masters in Modern History from York University in 2005, having completed his BA there in 2003. Since then he has worked in project management in higher education before joining the College and its fledgling research department in 2009, where he now supports the Director of Research and manages the research team to implement all elements of the College’s Research Strategy. 

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